Starting a business is one of the most exciting and exhilarating events you’ll experience in life. It will rival any roller coaster you have ever been on. There are sure to be suspenseful times as you are about the crest the top, you feel like you are literally on top of the world, only to followed by the quickest drop in your life.
Like riding a roller coaster starting a business is sure to be a little crazy at times, even unpredictable. The challenge is what makes it so intriguing and draws you into it. One of the greatest challenges you will face while growing your business is letting people know you exist.
The competition is greater than ever. The tools are more abundant than ever. To sell your product or your service, you have to let people know you exist.
This blog post is intended to be introductory to the areas listed below. Following this post in the coming weeks, we will expand on each area with its own dedicated post.
1.) Add value
This is the most important aspect of marketing. It supersedes all other tricks and rules you may know.
Creative marketing techniques and paid advertisements may get you some sign-ups, but eventually, people will be able to sniff out the people who are out for their wallets and not their well being. They’ll find someone who is invested in their interests. If there isn’t anyone else they can purchase from, at the very least, they aren’t referring anyone else to you.
People have to know that you care about them. The same way you want to succeed, you also have to show them you want them to succeed.
You can try to fake caring for people, but you'll be found out eventually. If your heart is not right in serving your customer's, they'll know.
2.) Get on social media
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is a complete lack of social media utilization or a lack of proper social media use.
Don't think you have to be on every platform. You already have a million things going on. It may not be possible for you to learn how to perform well on all platforms. Instead what I would encourage is to choose three different platforms and focus all of your energy there.
Choose wisely, don't focus on a platform that doesn't make sense for your business. For example, if you are a photographer, head over to Instagram and make sure you set up an account. If you rely heavily on customer interactions, you need to be on twitter where it easy and efficient to respond to customer requests. Study your platforms and figure what suits your business the most and post, reply and engage faithfully.
3.) Create a website
This one is probably a given, but I will add it anyway. If you plan on selling anything, product or service, you have to have a website. This doesn't mean you have to have some custom made and elaborate web page.
In today's day and age there are plenty of template platforms such as Wix, or Squarespace, that allow you to create unique and beautiful pages with practically no coding experience at all. Choose one, and you could have a web page up in a matter of hours.
4.) Create content
If you want people to know you are out there, you have to give them something to find. One of the easiest ways to do this is creating a blog. Your blog should be relevant, informational and not overly promotional.
Give your readers relevant and actionable tips that will them achieve their fitness goals and motivate them to keep coming back.
Don't stop at a blog, create interactive social media polls, infographics, images, and videos. Customer's often interact better when there text in addition to some other media.
Even if you don’t have an in house graphic designer you can set up accounts with companies like Canva. It’s a program to create graphic content, without the skills of a graphic designer. It is completely user friendly and they even offer courses to teach you new tips and tricks.
5.) Work on SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Those are fancy words that mean you make your website more appealing to search engines like Google and Bing, so your content gets ranked higher in search results.
Anyways, with every blog post, picture and page you create for your website, you must have SEO in your mind. It often doesn't yield results right away, but over time, it'll add consistent and recurring traffic. Many people pass on this step, which should make it more exciting to you since this will put you ahead of your competition.
6.) Email marketing
When you get your website up, you need to set up an opportunity to connect with your customer's. One of the most beneficial ways to do this is to set up an email capture form. This can be through subscriptions to companies like mail chimp and plugged in directly to your website.
People usually aren't willing to hand over information, so you must incentivize them so they will give you their email address. Offer them a free resource. This doesn't have to be extensive. It may be something like a top 10 list, eBook, infographic or checklist. Whatever it is, make sure it is useful and something that will benefit the customer.
Once you have an email address, make sure to send out emails regularly. Just like your blog, you want these to be informational, helpful and not overly promotional. You may cover helpful tips, coupons or inside look at your company. Whatever it is, do it consistently. Just make sure you don't go over the top. Bombarding someone with five emails a day will guarantee an overwhelming amount of unsubscribes.
7.) Get out there
No matter what industry you are in, there are sure to be communities dedicated to your industry. Join them and let people know you exist. If you are on social media, start getting involved with discussions that have to do with your industry.
Find online forums where people are asking questions and answer them. This will start to set you apart as someone who has real interests in helping and will display your expertise in that industry. Through your efforts, people will begin to trust you and start going directly to you or your company.
8.) Know your audience
When we start our businesses, we assume everybody needs our product. I mean, it is so great, how can it not be beneficial to everyone, right? That isn’t true, and it is one of the fastest ways to lead to your business's demise.
It is impossible to market to every single person. Figure out who your market is, and pursue them. There are many ways you can do this.
If you have social media and have a business page set up, you can usually access an analytics or demographics section, and this will tell what kind of people are interacting with you. It may list things like gender, income, sports teams or interests. You can now begin to tailor your outreach campaigns to the people who are engaging with you.
Look at your competitors and examine the types of people who are purchasing from them. In all likelihood, you should be going after the same people. You don’t have to perform some vast and expensive market research program, just put in some time to figure who will actually be interested in purchasing from you.
9.) Track your efforts
If you are going to put effort into growing your business, it is equally important to know whether or not it is working. If you haven't already, head over to Google and sign up for google search console, google analytics and google page speed insights. This all allows you to track whether what you are doing is working, shows when people are actually on your web page and if you need to adjust.
If what you are doing isn't working, don't worry that is normal. Marketing your company should never stop, which means learning never stops. Take the time to fix what isn't working and adjust as needed.
Are there any areas you would add to this list? Also, don’t forget we will be expanding on all of these areas in the coming weeks. Today was a snapshot into areas you need to focus hopefully catapulting into a more refined research for your company.